What Did 'Noah' Director Promise Russell Crowe?

The actor discusses his biblical role and controversy surrounding the new film.
3:00 | 03/26/14

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Transcript for What Did 'Noah' Director Promise Russell Crowe?
. We last saw Russell Crowe as the father of Superman now taking on a role of biblical proportions in "Noah." Before we catch up with him let's take a look at this genesis of the Noah story to find the real Noah's ark. It begins. Reporter: The $125 million "Noah" movie is the latest version of a story mankind has been telling and retelling for millennia about one man asked by god to build an ark and ride out a massive flood that would cleanse a corrupt world. The famous verses from genesis have inspired a TV miniseries. Is it the end? Reporter: Vintage Disney cartoons. ? Oh I'm father Noah captain of this ? Reporter: Art exhibitions and a theme park in Kentucky called ark encounter set to begin construction in may with an estimated $73 million life-size recreation of the ark but what happened to the actual ark? According to scripture it came to rest on Mt. Ararat that mounted expeditions across Turkey and some have taken the search for evidence of the flood to the depths of the nearby black sea as archaeologist gob Ballard did unearthing what he believes to be an ancient shoreline. I love it. I love it. I love it. Reporter: And enduring mystery and a tale with enduring appeal. One that the makers of this new film hope will make waves at the box office. For "Good morning America," Dan Harris, ABC news, New York. And "Noah" is already doing that. We're excited to have its star Russell Crowe with us this morning. I saw it yesterday with a group of people and I'm telling you, the reaction was just -- we went to lunch after and that's all that we could do was to talk about it. You played so many different characters. First time playing a biblical character much how do you approach it? Well, you don't really approach it from that perspective. You just try to find the, you know, the humanity in the perpendicular you're playing and bring it down to a human scale. I mean, if you stood back from it and tried to play the resonance of the story I think you'd get yourself tangled up, you know. So it's just a matter of really looking at the man, looking at the time that he lived in, looking at his relationships with his family and looking at the task this front of him. I want to talk more about it. At the heart of it it is a story of a family. But when you were first approached about this, Darron aronofsky, the director, I heard he made you two promises about playing Noah. What were they? I think he was trying to find a way of getting into the conversation and indicating to me that, you know, as heavy as the script may be, that, you know, he's a broader person with a full personality sort of thing and to expect from him that we can talk about important things. He said to me, you know, I said title of the film. Don't say anything. I'll make you two promises. "Noah," the biblical Noah? And he said, yes. Here's the promises. Promise number one you'll never be required to wear sandals and promise number two, never at any point will I put you on the bow of a ship flanked by an elephant. That's a no-no. We see -- we tend to see Noah through the eyes of the children's books, you know, and we think of Noah -- so many people when I was making the movie, oh, you're playing Noah, animals. Noah is the last guy left alive and watches the entire population of the planet perish. There's got to be some steel in Noah? That part is great. This is you, Noah, explaining to your family what you have been drawn to do. All right. ? Great flood is coming. The waters of the heavens will meet the waters of the Earth. Build a vessel to survive it. We'll build an ark. The score, the visuals, so much about the movie and you have -- have you found yourself having to not just talk about it but to some people who haven't even seen it yet that you're having to defend the way that the movie has been -- Definitely. We've had probably over a year now of very harsh criticism from a bunch of people who put their name and stamp on an opinion that's not even based on the movie or seeing the movie, just an assumption of how bad it could be or how wrong it could be in their eyes which, you know, I think, quite frankly, is bordering on absolute stupidity. You know, because now people are seeing the movie and they're realizing how respectful it is and how potent it is and, look, the great thing about this flip, regardless whether you're somebody of fate or not, as you're experiencing it, you just said a minute ago you come out and want to talk and the subs you want to talk about, our stewardship of the Earth, our relationship to animal, what is spirituality, who am I in this world, all these fantastic subjects for conversation, this is a great piece of art, you know, art that can do that for people, it's a wonderful hinge. I'm sure it's part of the reason you're doing what you're doing. Why you wanted to do this. Absolutely. Is to spark -- we did that and Jennifer Connelly was here last week and you guys -- you just bring it to a different level and you remind us Noah is a family, a family man. Uh-huh. At the end of the day this is a family drama. Yes, exactly. Family drama about a father who is single-minded in the pursuit of a task and the fallout that can happen. Oh, the temptation and they're telling me to go. I know you met the pope. I wanted to know your reaction because josh and I had the privilege of being there in the audience. This is something about the pope which -- Look, I think considering the controversy surrounding this movie, it would have been so easy for the Vatican to rescind that invitation and just let it be that way, but the kindness to actually let the invitation stand, you know, I thought it was just so consistent with who he's been -- I'm not catholic and I've never felt any connection with any previous pope but I really like this guy. I like what he says and as we were talking about before, the cameras came on. He's changing the tone of the way you regard the pope and I think it's -- I think it's a magnificent thing and I was really privileged and humbled to be in that environment. Echo your sentiments. Wonderful to spend time with you. Lara is very excited about going. We went to the screening. She has the premiere with you tonight. But all the best to you going forward and it will get people talking. It already has. Open-minded when you see it. "Noah" opens nationwide on Friday.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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